On science, religion, Brahmins and a book

Photo by Anni Roenkae on Pexels.com

I’m partway through Renny Thomas’s new book, Science and Religion in India: Beyond Disenchantment. Its description on the Routledge page reads: This book provides an in-depth ethnographic study of science and religion in the context of South Asia, giving voice to Indian scientists and shedding valuable light on their engagement with religion. Drawing on biographical, autobiographical, historical, and…… Continue reading On science, religion, Brahmins and a book

ISRO’s national interest bullshit

For data and other objects, like images and videos, it places in the public domain, the Indian government attaches the GODL license – short for ‘government open data license’. The terms of this license are fairly straightforward: that … all users are provided a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, adapt, publish (either in original,…… Continue reading ISRO’s national interest bullshit

The virtues and vices of reestablishing contact with Vikram

There was a PTI report yesterday that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is still trying to reestablish contact with the Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan 2 mission. The lander had crashed onto the lunar surface on September 7 instead of touching down. The incident severed its communications link with ISRO ground control, leaving the…… Continue reading The virtues and vices of reestablishing contact with Vikram

The mission that was 110% successful

Caution: Satire. On October 2, Kailash S., the chairman of the Indian Wonderful Research Organisation (IWRO), announced that the Moonyaan mission had become a 110% success. At an impromptu press conference organised inside the offices of India Day Before Yesterday, he said that the orbiter was performing exceptionally well and that a focus on its secondary…… Continue reading The mission that was 110% successful

The fight over ISRO

My report about ISRO’s ’90-95%’ success claim vis-à-vis Chandrayaan 2 had precisely three kinds of response, split 49%, 49% and 2%. One 49% group went like this: The other 49% went like this: The remainder, which constituted meaningful engagement, was virtually residual. To add to this, K. Sivan has brought a new thing about him…… Continue reading The fight over ISRO

Firstpost’s selfish journalism

I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept of false balance, which is based on the conviction that there are two sides to every story even when there aren’t or when it’s not clear to anyone what the other side is. I’m also sure you’re aware of how journalism based on false balance can legitimise fake…… Continue reading Firstpost’s selfish journalism

First temple, then launchpad?

ISRO chairman K. Sivan is free to worship and worship any deity he bloody well wants ∞; that’s his right. But it’s not entirely comforting when you think back about all the chairpersons ISRO has had – all men, all Hindus – who have made offerings at temples to “take ISRO to new heights” or…… Continue reading First temple, then launchpad?

For space, frugality is a harmful aspiration

Ref: ‘ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission to cost lesser than Hollywood movie Interstellar – here’s how they make it cost-effective’, staff, Moneycontrol, February 20, 2018. ∞ ‘Chandrayaan-2 mission cheaper than Hollywood film Interstellar’, Surendra Singh, Times of India, February 20, 2018. ∞ The following statements from the Moneycontrol and Times of India articles have no meaning: The cost of…… Continue reading For space, frugality is a harmful aspiration

ISRO v. SpaceX doesn’t make sense

Though I’ve never met the guy, I don’t hold Pallava Bagla in very high regard because his stories – particularly of the Indian space programme – for NDTV have often reeked of simplistic concerns, pettiness and, increasingly of late, a nationalistic pride. The most recent instance all these characteristics were put on display was February…… Continue reading ISRO v. SpaceX doesn’t make sense